Author’s Note: Some of this is the same as “Making a Masterpiece.”
Yes, that was Luna, too.
She couldn’t keep painting over him anymore. She had to stop it. What she was doing was not helping anything. She was just making it worse and worse, and she had to stop. She was done. All of it needed to go. The past would be behind her, and she’d move on to what passed for normal for her. She had Alvin, at least, and her father was still there, and so she had a bookshop and didn’t need a bunch of reminders of the impossible.
Alvin was, quite frankly, enough. Four arms, four wings, a giant blue beacon, he made it so that there was no forgetting what had happened. Trying to hold onto Tynan was unnecessary. She couldn’t get free of him no matter where she looked.
Everything reminded her of him.
She didn’t need a painting. Or a hundred of them. She’d lost track of how many she’d done trying to pin down that elusive facsimile of his, but she was done. She had them all in one place now, and her pathetic behavior made her wince as she studied them.
She took a deep breath. “I am getting over you, Tynan. I swear it.”
The look on the painting she’d left face up seemed to disagree with her, so she turned it over, making it face away from her. She reached into her pocket and took out the matchbook. “Okay, you’re right. I lied, but maybe I will someday.”
She didn’t get an answer, not that she expected one. She tore off a match and struck it on the back of the book, throwing it onto the pile. She did the same with the next one until she’d emptied the book, letting it fall on top of the pyre.
She stepped back, surveying her work with a smile.
“What are you doing?” Her father’s words—all of them—were a demand, some kind of yell or maybe a scream, but over the roar of the fire, she couldn’t hear any of them. She didn’t care. Her eyes were routed on the flames, watching them climb higher, flicker and shift in a macabre dance. The heat warmed her skin, and then he had hold of her, dragging her away from the bonfire.
She didn’t struggle. She knew struggling was pointless. He already had the wrong idea. This was not about hurting herself. She didn’t need to do that.
“What the hell were you thinking? You could have killed yourself standing so close to that thing. Why would you set that thing in the first place? You could take down half the city, not to mention you just threw away everything you worked on for the past year! All your paintings…”
She turned her head and looked at him, a small smile on her face. “Don’t you see, Dad? It’s not art until it’s been through a fire. I was just helping it along.”
He shook his head. “Oh, Luna…”
She shrugged. “I’m fine. It was time to let go.”
“You’re not fine. We’re taking you to the emergency room after the fire department puts out that bonfire. You’re going back on the medication or something. You could have killed someone.”
“No. I—I just needed to let Tynan go. This is a good thing. Dad, no! Let go of me! I’m not crazy! Don’t do this. I’m just trying to move on. Please.”
“I tried to give you time to deal with it on your own, but this? I can’t ignore what you’ve just done. You need help, Luna, and you have to accept that.”
He was going to commit her. They’d lock her away forever. She couldn’t let that happen. She wasn’t insane, just heartbroken, and she wasn’t giving up now. “Alvin!”
This happens to me all the time and well-incorporated. Most of the time, a story doesn’t even pull together for me until two or more previously written snippets collide and a new premise is born.
Yeah, that’s how this one went. I wrote “Clouds Got in the Way” and “Be Prepared to Bleed,” and then they started to form into something nebulous that led to “Acceptance” and the whole story. When I wrote “Making a Masterpiece,” I knew it was Luna, but she didn’t reach this point until a lot later in the story. Still, these pieces are what made this one come together.
A story needs a few pieces to fall into place and find its way, right?